The Philadelphia Citizen


The Philadelphia Citizen podcast offers spoken versions of articles, deeper dives into the political, social and cultural workings of our city, explainers on the issues of our day, interviews, conversations and solutions. Lots of solutions. All to help you become a better citizen of your city.

Available on


874 episodes

Interview Special | Michael E. Mann preaches climate optimism

One of the most famous — and famously attacked — climatologists in America is now the founding director of Penn’s new climate change institute. He has a few things to say to those who doubt we can still save the earth

Aug 09
Ali Velshi | Speak

In this episode of #VelshiBannedBookClub, Citizen Board Member and MSNBC host Ali Velshi talks to Laurie Halse Anderson about her book: Speak (one of the most banned books in the country). Labeled by its critics as pornographic, Speak explores assault and consent-based sexuality in a young adult setting. "You would think people would find the educational system...the right place to talk about these things," Anderson said.

Aug 08
Is democracy in peril...or not?

There’s been a lot of handwringing over Democrats like Josh Shapiro trying to choose their MAGA general election opponents. But maybe we need a nationwide referendum on Trumpism, once and for all?

Aug 05
Controller Rhynhart, will you clean up Philly?!

The City’s disorganization around Philly’s illegal dumping crisis is as messy as the dumping itself. A reporter who has spent months delving into the disaster calls for a leader we can count on

Aug 03
This is how the lack of jobs limits Philly's future

In a groundbreaking new report, the head of Center City District starkly lays out the problem — and calls for Philadelphia’s next mayor to fully invest in growth

Aug 02
Ali Velshi | Huckleberry Finn

In this episode of #VelshiBannedBookClub, Citizen Board Member and MSNBC host Ali Velshi speaks with Mark Twain scholar, Matthew Seybold, about this iconic (and banned) work of American literature. Seybold says Twain's use of the N-word was not just a product of his time, but purposeful commentary about dehumanization.

Aug 01
Fetterman: Senator Troll?

Senate candidate John Fetterman’s heckling of Mehmet Oz may entertain the already converted, but it might work against persuading independent voters

Jul 29
An litter

A morning commute turned (slightly) tragic for one Philadelphian. She responds with…poetry

Jul 28
Suzanne Sheer is taking over Philly

On this episode, we profile Suzanne Sheer--the singer, songwriter and Khemist collaborator whose new album, The Blue Hour, is dominating the city's music scene.

Jul 27
The 20-minute neighborhood

In this episode of Ideas We Should Steal, Paris, Portland, Houston and even Detroit are planning neighborhoods where residents can walk or bike to everything they need for a healthy and vibrant life. Is now the time to do the same in Philly?

Jul 26
Ali Velshi | Brown Girl Dreaming

In this episode of #VelshiBannedBookClub, Citizen Board Member and MSNBC host Ali Velshi speaks with MacArthur Fellow and renowned author Jacqueline Woodson about her multi-award-winning (and banned) book: Brown Girl Dreaming.

Jul 26
The Sixers for the win?

The prospect of a $1.3 billion Center City arena can spur equitable growth — if done right. Here, a playbook for an intentional and inclusive deal

Jul 21
This Philly woman is teaching be advocates

In this episode of Generation Change Philly, Laura Boyce doesn’t just advocate for educators in Philadelphia public schools. She teaches them to advocate for themselves, for their students, and for the Philadelphia School District

Jul 20
I want to go home. I want my brother.

In this guest commentary, a bystander of the Fourth of July shooting points out a fact of gun violence episodes in America: Most are not mass shootings--they are the everyday terror that plagues communities.

Jul 19
Ali Velshi | Our rights have been eroding for some time

It may seem that our rights have been expanding over the last twenty years, but Citizen Board Member and MSNBC host Ali Velshi explains why this isn't so. The recent Supreme Court rulings are an exclamation point on a long running sentence.

Jul 18
The return of Stop and Frisk?

The debate, floated by Council President Darrell Clarke and engaged by Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, is proof that, when it comes to combatting gun violence in Philadelphia, our leaders live in a fact-free zone

Jul 15
This former DA asks: Who will win out? Progressives or safety?

Philly’s former District Attorney shows how Larry Krasner’s progressive policies fail to prevent crime — and what we should be doing differently

Jul 14
Deep canvassing | Can you actually change someone's mind? Yes.

Recently we at the Citizen held a workshop focused on using personal stories to increase voter turnout. Adam Barbanel-Fried of Changing the Conversation for Progress (CTC) led our group with all the power of an inspirational speaker and showed us how to turn empathy into actual votes. Listen in and learn with us. 

Jul 13
Democracy vouchers?

In this episode of Ideas We Should Steal, we look to Seattle, which is giving residents cash vouchers to support political candidates. This has increased participation from both voters and candidates. Could we do the same in Philly?

Jul 12
Ali Velshi | Richard Nixon also weaponized the IRS

Donald Trump isn't alone in turning the IRS against his political enemies. Citizen Board Member and MSNBC host Ali Velshi sheds light on Nixon's attempt to use tax audits to punish his opponents.

Jul 11
Stop the presses — Jim Kenney doesn’t want to be mayor!

The mayor’s white flag-waving comments this week created a storm of controversy. But did he say anything we didn't already know? And, what of it?

Jul 08
Reality Check | Bringing living wages to immigrants in Philly

WURD host Charles Ellison chats with Peter Gonzales and Nicole Marcote of The Welcoming Center about Brightly, a co-op franchise expanding to Philadelphia that provides living wages and opportunities to its worker/owners.

Jul 07

In this episode of Generation Change Philly, we highlight Christa Barfield of FarmerJawn and Viva Leaf Tea. She's an irrepressible leader of today’s urban farming movement in the city and builds individual and community health from the ground up.

Jul 06
Abortion: a woman's choice, a man's responsibility

A letter about a past abortion by Jay Coen Gilbert. Until the leaked draft decision that would eventually overturn Roe v. Wade, he writes, I had never told anyone — except my wife.

Jul 05
Ali Velshi | Remember the ladies this July 4th

Citizen Board Member and MSNBC host Ali Velshi reveals a letter by Abigail Adams to her husband, John, imploring him to remember women's rights when forming this country.

Jul 04
Are street cameras putting a dent in illegal dumping?

Philly has more illegal dumping surveillance cameras than other major cities, but far fewer arrests and convictions. Here’s what we know about illegal dumpers — and the system that rarely stops them.

Jul 01
The most talented Philly hip-hop artist you've never heard of

Logan-born poet/musician Khemist is spectacularly gifted. He's one of the most talented artists Philly has produced this century--we just don’t know it yet.

Jun 30
Is it even possible to create a prosperous and equitable Philly?

In the second installment of Business For Good, Larry moderates a conversation between a businessman (FS Investments' Michael Forman), a union leader (Ryan Boyer) and a politician (Maria Quiñones-Sánchez) about setting up Philadelphians for success. "It's time for our city to send a message of optimism and hope." Join us.

1h 2m
Jun 29
Will the Supreme Court Bombshells Change How PA Votes?

Why are Josh Shapiro and Doug Mastriano neck and neck? Is Dr. Oz underwater? Is PA going red? Catching up with legendary political consultant Neil Oxman to understand the polling.

Jun 28
Ali Velshi | The anti-abortion movement was always steeped in lies

That 6-week fetal "heartbeat" you hear is actually coming from the ultrasound machine. Citizen Board Member and MSNBC host Ali Velshi breaks down some of the most pervasive lies used by anti-abortion activists.

Jun 27